Your body and mind need to be in good health in order to be productive. There are whole books and courses dedicated to each aspect of personal healthcare, but in this article we’re going to tackle five of the the major issues and offer simple solutions.
In order to be productive, you should be getting at least moderate exercise on a regular basis. This means getting out and doing something physical two to three times a week. This is especially important if you spend all day in front of the computer and even more critical if your hobbies don’t involve physical activity.
When the blood is pumping through your body, this has an effect on your mind. People who start exercising after years of no exercise always report elevated energy levels and better focus allowing them to be productive in many areas of their life. Exercise also helps you blow off steam, reduce stress, and mitigate the health risks associated with spending all day at a desk.
Eat three balanced meals a day and snack time if necessary. If your stomach is empty, you’ll lose focus because your brain isn’t getting the nutrients it needs. Don’t rush meals. Take your time and enjoy them. Don’t skip breakfast for the sake of productivity. The first meal of the day is as important as everyone says it is.
Snack breaks are great for keeping your focus throughout the day, but make sure your snack choices are healthy. Sugary and fatty foods can have the reverse effect.
Another diet consideration is caffeine. Caffeine is great for getting us up in the morning and keeping us sharp – in moderate amounts. If one cup of coffee makes you more focused, three must turn you into a productivity machine, right? The answer to this is a resounding no. Too much caffeine makes you jittery and unable to concentrate. If you like caffeinated drinks, watch your intake if you wish to be productive.
The image of the Highly Productive Individual is one who sleeps three hours a day so they can spend as much time as possible pumping out work. Unfortunately, this is a largely mythical figure. Most of us can’t function if deprived of sleep. Lack of sleep or bad sleeping habits can lead to trouble focusing and lost productivity.
Sleeping schedules and habits differ from person to person, but you should be getting enough sleep, regular sleep and good sleep. If you’re constantly feeling lethargic, sleep habits are a likely cause. If you sleep long hours but wake up not feeling rested, this is an indication that you may have a sleep disorder keeping you from getting the deep sleep you need.
Some people find that a shorter sleep at night with naps during the day helps with their productivity. Some people swear by the “power nap,” where you lie down for 10 minutes of intense napping. Try the power nap and see if it helps you recharge.
If you wish to be productive, make sure you’re dealing with stress in a healthy way. If you make sure that you’re exercising, eating well and sleeping enough, this will help. But it’s also good to have a few stress reduction techniques on hand to help you relax. These techniques could be exercises like meditation, yoga or light exercise; they could be hobbies like reading or listening to music; or they could be more in-depth practices like creative visualization and deep breathing.
Have a few long-term and a few short-term stress reduction techniques on hand. Long-term techniques are things you practice regularly over time to reduce your overall stress level; for example, you might meditate for twenty minutes at the start of each day.
A short-term technique is something you do when something sets you off and you need to calm down and regain your focus. For example, your computer crashes and it sends you off into a spiral of rage. This is a good time to go for a quick run or spend a little quality time with your favorite video game.
Somewhere in your busy schedule, you need some time to simply sit and do nothing at all. With all of our gadgets and modern entertainment, moments of silence have become rare. Even when taking a break or performing daily routines like brushing your teeth, you’re scrolling through your Twitter feed or listening to the TV news in the other room.
But this silent time is important for your mental health. You should spend at least a little time each day doing absolutely nothing. Just sit on the couch and let your mind wander for a few minutes. It can help you reduce the feeling of clutter in your brain, which then allows you to focus better when you’re working and in turn you will be productive.
What do you do to mind your health?
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Till Next Time
Mike Gardner is The Time Doctor